Monday, April 20, 2009

Lisa's Review: The Lost Hours

When Piper Mills was twelve, she helped her grandfather bury a box that belonged to her grandmother in the backyard. For twelve years, it remained untouched.

Now a near fatal riding accident has shattered Piper’s dreams of Olympic glory. After her grandfather’s death, she inherits the house and all its secrets, including a key to a room that doesn’t exist—or does it? And after her grandmother is sent away to a nursing home, she remembers the box buried in the backyard. In it are torn pages from a scrapbook, a charm necklace—and a newspaper article from 1939 about the body of an infant found floating in the Savannah River. The necklace’s charms tell the story of three friends during the 1930s— each charm added during the three months each friend had the necklace and recorded her life in the scrapbook. Piper always dismissed her grandmother as not having had a story to tell. And now, too late, Piper finds she might have been wrong.

How have I never heard of Karen White before? This is her tenth(!) book and the first for me. I read the summary knowing that it was right up my alley and was excited when her publicist offered it to us for review. Full of wonderful characters, it was a little difficult to love Piper immediately. She was feeling sorry for herself and a bit stubborn and defensive. Her grandfather's death opened up a mystery for her. Her grandmother is stricken with Alzhiemiers and eventually dies. Piper reaches out to the only other person alive who can provide answers, but finds her efforts rebuffed. Determined, she sets off to dig further and finds her life being transformed as the mystery unfolds.

This is a heartwarming novel, about friendship, secrets, regrets, forgiveness and healing. With flashbacks to early 20th Century Savannah, by way of scrapbook entries, it was easy to guess at the answers to the questions Piper had, but it was never completely predictable, nor could I guess at all the secrets.

My issues with the novel are minor. The timeline at the beginning was a bit jumpy and I was left a little confused. In addition, I am not sure that I got a believable resolution to a minor character's story. I had a small problem with the point of view switching from Piper to other characters about 75 pages in. I'd gotten used to the third person at that point, however after I read an interview the author gave that explained her reason for switching and found it acceptable. Other than that I am happy to sing Ms. White's praises and wonder what other gems I've been missing.

Final take: 4.5/5


Julie April 20, 2009 at 10:13 AM  

Sounds right up my alley! :)

Jenn April 20, 2009 at 11:24 AM  

I think I want to investigate this one too!

Serena April 20, 2009 at 2:17 PM  

I want to read this one as well. I really enjoyed her novel The House on Tradd Street!

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